Edwards Wins Cup Pole in Phoenix

Ford Qualifying Order:

1st – Carl Edwards

10th – Greg Biffle

American Muscle

11th – David Ragan

15th – AJ Allmendinger

24th – Matt Kenseth

29th – Marcos Ambrose

30th – David Gilliland

33rd – Trevor Bayne

36th – Mike Skinner

40th – Travis Kvapil

43rd – Tony Raines

TONY RAINES – No. 37 Front Row Motorsports Ford Fusion (Qualified 43rd) – “The weekend has gone about how we thought it would. This is a speedway car and the key for us was to just get it driving OK, where we could run the whole race and kind of get going. It’s not driving bad. We’re gonna definitely keep working at it. We’ve got a little ways to go, but it’s a good start. So far everything is in one piece.”

TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion (Qualified 40th) – “We struggled yesterday. We had some brake trouble we fought for the most part and we hit the wall as a result of that. It seemed like we were kind of in a hole all day, but the car is driving OK and we’re locked in the show. I think our teammate, David Gilliland, has a pretty good car, so we’ll see what we’ve got here and what he’s got so then we can compare notes and make some changes yet for tomorrow.”

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion (Qualified 33rd) – “I know I needed more. When we ran that .70 I said it’s gonna take a .20 or .30 to be on the pole, so that wasn’t what we needed exactly. I just didn’t have enough grip. I couldn’t get much more out of the tire out there. I think it’s gonna be good on a long run, but for qualifying it just wasn’t there. We’ll get it, plus I’m learning, too. This is my first time jumping back and forth between Nationwide and Cup since Texas, and they’re totally different cars and I’ve got a lot to learn with both.”

BASED ON YESTERDAY WERE YOU MORE CONSERVATIVE WITH THIS LAP? “Yeah, you have to be until you get in the race. Once it comes race time you’ve got that car anyway, so you’re good. I had to be a little bit conservative, but I was still pushing it. I was still shaking when I got out of the car because I thought I pushed it, but I think I got into turn one a little too low and couldn’t carry any speed.”

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion (Qualified 30th) – “I think it’s good. We’re right there behind Jimmie Johnson and that is a step up from where we were last year. I feel like our car is excellent in race trim. We didn’t do a lot of qualifying stuff because we didn’t have the tires to really do that, but I’m excited. The car in race trim was phenomenal. If you look at the company we’re around, that’s good. We’ll go from there and work on it for Sunday.”

MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion (Qualified 29th) – “I’m a little disappointed. That’s my first time really qualifying for this team and we’re all new and learning each other. I just left a little bit out there.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Valvoline Ford Fusion (Qualified 15th) – “I’m not sure where that’s gonna end up. That’s probably gonna 17th or 18th from the looks of it, so that’s not very good. It’s disappointing from yesterday. We had a decent car and brushed the wall, so you go out there and you’re not really sure. The guys did a good job. The driver wasn’t that good.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st) – “We’ve got a fast race car and these Goodyear tires come in the second lap. They’re fastest on the second lap, so it would mean so much to be on the pole for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 in the Subway Ford. That would be huge. They’ve already given me a lot of free sandwiches this weekend and we’d love to give them a trophy. That would be cool.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Qualified 10th) – “I feel pretty good. I should have pushed the gas down sooner in three and four. The car had so much grip. I don’t know why, but I was just a little bit nervous and didn’t want to make a mistake. I probably just waited too long over there – a tenth of a second. That was my fault, but what’s exciting about it is we have a really good car and a really fast car.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 11th) – “It’s a small pick-up. Anytime you’re up there in the top three or four during practice you think you’ve got a legitimate shot at the pole and another tenth we would have been right there. I’m real happy with our UPS Ford for the race. I think we’ve got a real solid car and anytime you can qualify in the top 15, you’ve got a real good shot to get a good pit stall and get a good start. That’s good, but you’re always hungry for more.”

CARL EDWARDS POLE-WINNING PRESS CONFERENCE – “That’s a big deal. We’ve had a lot of support from Subway. It’s been a lot of fun representing them and to be on the pole is huge. This new qualifying format is a little stressful. I had to watch Kyle go, and I know how fast he was, and then Kurt was screaming fast yesterday, so he had me stressed out a little bit. It’s fortunate we were able to sit on the pole. I love this race track. I know all the drivers love this race track. It’s really fun to drive on and starting up front is, hopefully, gonna make the race a lot simpler.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE BENEFIT OF HAVING THE FIRST PIT SELECTION? “Track position is huge here, especially on the short run. I think we’ll have that first pit stall. I’m assuming that’s what Bob will pick and that really helped us a lot in the fall to have a good pit stall because I would lose a couple spots, and Kurt and I actually raced a ton, and he would take off and leave us, but we had the advantage of the pit stall and sometimes we’d come back out front and he’d pass me again. But having that pit stall means a lot and it will hopefully help us throughout the whole race.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO PROVE AFTER THE LAST COUPLE? “You always have something to prove here every week. It doesn’t really matter what you did before, it only matters what you’re able to do now. I think having those ups-and-downs that I’ve had as a driver and we’ve had as a team have helped me to kind of stay a little more even keel about our results. The difference between those previous down years and this year is I feel like the reason we ran well at the end of last season, it’s not like we have one trick – it’s not like we have one axle housing or the engine, we all of a sudden found a bunch of horsepower. We have a number of things, I think, that are gonna make our team stronger. It’s like Kurt said, we’re faster because we have done a lot of hard work and the guys have worked smarter, so I’m more confident this year, but I understand it’s not gonna get any easier. We just have to keep working.”

THIS TRACK IS SUPPOSEDLY WORN OUT, BUT IT STILL MUST HAVE SOMETHING LEFT IN IT. “Yeah, this track is great. I talked to Sperber earlier and I think the question I asked him it seems a lot of people have asked was, ‘Why would you even mess with this?’ And he said that the last thing he wants to do is mess with this race track, but he has to. He said they put patches on this week, patches on patches, and it’s literally coming apart. What it’s got in it is a lot of character and it’s a lot of fun and a lot of history, so it’s sad to see it change and see the surface replaced, but it is what it is. What they say they’re gonna do down here in the dogleg sounds pretty interesting. I think it could be a pretty wild event in the fall.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.


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